Ephesians 3:16; 19b-20
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
Have you ever felt like you were just getting by, that there had to be more to life than just existing, that something seemed to be missing?
Well, when you read this scripture, you know, with no uncertainty, that God has so much more for us. As a matter of fact, Jesus said that He came that we would experience “abundant life”, life that exceeds the everyday, mundane existence of just living. He has called ordinary people, to live extraordinary lives. He has called us to live, what I call, an ascending life; a life that is always moving forward, upward. Some seasons we move quicker than other seasons, but we're always moving, ascending. But, all too often, we tend to settle for so much less than what God intends for us.
I believe God’s design for our lives is that we should abound in all things, that our lives would be full and joyful. However, I do not use those words as a cheap prosperity doctrine. According to such teaching, the greater your faith, the greater your abundance. Unfortunately, way too much emphasis is placed on the possessions, rather than a true, genuine faith. Such doctrine not only cheapens your faith, but more importantly, it cheapens the Gospel. In spite of that perverse take on scripture, God does desire the best for you.
Abundant life, however, is not defined by the abundance of things, but rather by the abundance of grace. Modern culture, not to mention the modern church, tends to put an awful lot of significance in the importance of stuff with regard to happy lives. The larger our house, or houses, especially the one on the lake or beach, the happier we are. The more expensive the car, and oh, don’t forget the boat to truly find joy and happiness. Money in the bank, and throw in a little celebrity and fame, now you’ve got it all. And then we hear the breaking news that yet another famous celebrity takes their life because they can’t find fulfillment. Well, just maybe, our concept of abundant life is all wrong. Maybe there is something more, something that goes well beyond what we possess in a material world.
Life in Christ is filled with abundance. He speaks to our spiritual, physical and even our material welfare throughout the scriptures. Every part of our life is touched by His presence.
Let me ask you a question. If life had no limits, no barriers or no restrictions, how would you describe your life in that world? What would change, what would remain the same? Would it look, in any way, similar to your life now? How much of that life could you attain in the real world? Now, I'm going to assume that your wish lists was not totally taken up with material things. And I would hope that God’s purpose for your life was a major consideration while putting together this perfect existence. A life’s story built on the will of God and His purpose and plan for us, is a good starting place for living the abundant life, the ascending life. That is the life we should strive for. When we are citizens of His kingdom, we live and move under different laws than in the earthly kingdom. There are fewer restrictions that would hold us back from a life lived according to God's will and purpose. His word lays out the path, and His Spirit empowers us to live such a dynamic, powerful life. It sometimes involves stepping off our territory. We must do this totally by faith and obedience to God's will.
One of the most vivid illustrations of this is found way back in the Old Testament in the first chapter of Joshua. Moses was now dead. God came to Joshua, Moses’ successor, and told him it was time to occupy the land that He was giving them. They were at this point 40 years earlier, but missed it because of their lack of faith. Now, here they are again, a whole different generation. Would it be any different than before? It all began centuries earlier with a promise to Abraham.
Now it was time to fulfill
“Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them....”
Again in verse three and verse six, God speaks of the promise.
Our lives are no different, they stretch out in front of us as a promised land of “milk and honey.”
Jesus said it in John 10:10,
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Another translation says it this way:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Imagine God thinking about your welfare. How awesome is that?
“You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you!"
We have been promised a blessed life full of God’s presence. IT IS A PROMISE.
The first time they were going into the promised land they sent spies to check it out. Listen to the sad and fearful report they brought back. Herein lies
“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
Okay, maybe I forgot to mention that. There was going to have to be a fight to take the land. “You mean to tell me that it’s not just going to fall into our lap?” No one ever said it would be easy, especially Jesus. There will be some battles along the way, some perhaps intense. I’m truly sorry if that discourages you. I guess we could just quit, and turn back because of fear the way they did the first time. But be aware of the alternative. They wandered around in a wilderness for 40 years.
But, as God always does, He stepped in with
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”
“for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
If we will press on into this abundant life, we will go with God’s constant, abiding presence. God has promised to make provision. Whether in battles or smooth times, God will always be there.
As we approach the potential of abundant life, we need to decide how far we are willing to go. God laid out
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you.”
In other words you must decide how much of this life, this abundant life, you want. How much will your faith allow you to step off? How much are you willing to claim? Know where it is you want to be in Him and, by faith, step it off.
The joy and abundance to which believers are called is not, nor will it ever be, determined or defined by the abundance of things, or the absence of conflict, but by the fullness of life that God pours into us.
Well, it sounds like we may have some decisions to make.
God be with you and your journey into abundant life.